Your Monday afternoon briefing

Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition
Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.
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This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 85 degrees. Tonight will be mostly clear with a low around 66. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 87.
Top story
Seven months after Chicago ended its deadliest year in decades, the latest police data shows shootings and homicides are significantly down though overall crime is up.
Homicides have dropped 16% through July, down to 379 from 452 at the same point last year, according to a release from the police department. The number of people shot has fallen 20%, down to 1,969 from 2,455 during the same period last year.
The city saw 67 homicides in July, down nearly 38% from the 108 homicides recorded as violence reached historic levels during the same month last year. The number of shooting victims dropped 28% from last July, down to 447 from 595.
The continued drop in the most serious violent crimes comes after police began flooding the city’s 15 most dangerous communities with more officers and other resources, including help with jobs, housing and health.
So far this year, all but one of those communities has seen a drop in gunshot victims, according to city data analyzed by the Sun-Times.
In 55 police beats that cover many of those communities — and account for more than half of the city’s gun violence — homicides have fallen nearly 26% and shootings have dropped 33%, according to figures provided by the department.
More news you need
  1. A 31-year-old mother, her four children and another child were among seven people killed in a wrong-way crash on the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway over the weekend, according to authorities. The crash occurred around 2 a.m. when the two vehicles collided in the westbound lanes at Anthony Road, police said.
  2. By buying the Thompson Center, Google will help state and local governments answer some knotty questions, but will the partnership go a tiny bit further? David Roeder breaks down the tech giant’s growing ties with Chicago.
  3. Customers at the Des Plaines gas station where the $1.34 billion lotto ticket got pulled don’t know who won, and some of them say the lucky winner should try to keep it that way. Emmanuel Camarillo has more from the suburb where the Mega Millions ticket was sold.
  4. Before Lollapalooza wrapped up for the year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot took the stage briefly last night to announce that the festival will be operating out of Grant Park for at least another decade. Chicago’s partnership with Lollapalooza will now last through at least 2032.
  5. And if you missed our Lolla coverage over the weekend, there’s a lot to comb through. Selena Fragassi gave J-Hope’s festival-closing set a rave reviewand check out loads more reviews and photos from the four-day music bonanza here.
A bright one
Yekseny Guerrero had never done a public mural. But, when she saw on social media that a cafe in Maywood was looking for someone to paint one on its building, she thought: I have to do this.
So she asked for the job — and kept asking.
“I kept checking in every couple of months just to see if they could give me an opportunity,” says Guerrero, 23, who lives in Melrose Park. “They saw I was very enthusiastic.”
The cafe has since closed. But the mural Guerrero created in 2020 on an alley-facing wall of the building at 612 Lake St. is still there.
Melrose Park artist Yekseny Guerrero’s first public mural, done on an outside wall of a business in Maywood in 2020, features images of a butterfly, artist Frida Kahlo and flowers. |
Melrose Park artist Yekseny Guerrero’s first public mural, done on an outside wall of a business in Maywood in 2020, features images of a butterfly, artist Frida Kahlo and flowers. |
It features a painting of the late Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, flowers and a giant monarch butterfly to attract passersby to stop and take a selfie in front of the mural.
Guerrero says it took her five days to hand-paint the images and that she took her lead on what to include from the cafe’s interior decor.
It was heavy on “the golden age of Mexican cinema and art,” she says — “a lot of pictures inside the cafe of Frida, Diego Rivera,” Kahlo’s husband and a famed artist himself.
From the press box
Your daily question  ☕
Where’s your favorite place to look at flowers in the Chicago area?
Reply to this email (please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.
On Friday, we asked you: What’s your favorite memory from attending a Chicago music festival? Here’s what some of you said…
“Walking up and down the south side of Navy Pier during ChicagoFest. You could see many different genres of music all in one day.” — Randy Volz
“Chicagofest on Navy Pier at the Blues ‘n’ Bud Stage the year that Muddy Waters, Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks, Son Seals, Willie Dixon, and Mighty Joe Young all performed. The pier, the music, the Chicago skyline, the festival atmosphere … it was so, so fantastic.” — James Plath
“Watching Chuck Berry and Keith Richard jam together at Blues Fest for free. I’m not sure it gets better than that.” — Brian Horan
“Standing in a downpour watching Buddy Guy play ‘It Feels Like Rain.’ Awesome.” — Nick Quintana
“Robert Plant came on for some songs with Los Lobos in Grant Park.” — Dorie R. Felsher
“Singing along in a packed Wrigley Field with Paul McCartney in 2011; everyone knew the words to all of his songs.” — Rich Garling
“Use to love going to the taste with all the great free music. Village People, KC and the Sunshine Band. Those were the days.” — Susan Corey
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